Sycamore Men and Shocker Women Tabbed as Favorites
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ST. LOUIS – The Indiana State men and the Wichita State women have been selected as pre-championship favorites for this weekend’s 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championship in Des Moines, Iowa, in a vote by the league coaches.

Jim Duncan Track at Drake Stadium will serve as host for the meet as the Indiana State men are looking to earn their third-straight championship title, while the Shocker women hope to emerge on top for the third consecutive year as well.

Defending champion Indiana State checks in at the No. 1 position in the preseason poll with 48 points, and holds the No. 7 ranking in the Great Lakes Region in the latest USTFCCCA poll. The Sycamores enter this weekend's championship leading the Valley in seven events, and hold two of the top-five positions in the 100m, 200m, 5000m, 10,000m, 110m hurdles, 400m hurdles, 3,000m steeplechase, and shot put. Junior Brandon Pounds holds the Valley's 2nd best hammer throw. Senior hurdler Greggmar Swift will also contend for the title in the 110m hurdles, owning the tenth best time in the nation.

On the women's side, Indiana State checks in at the No. 2 position in the pre-championship poll with 54 points.  The Sycamores' Stacia Weatherford will look to continue her strong season in the hurdles and 400m races. Weatherford owns the top time in the Valley in the 400m hurdles. Star field athlete Felisha Johnson will look to dominate Valley competition in the shot put, discus, and hammer throw. She owns the top distance in the Valley for the shot put, and top five throws in the other two events. Eyes will also be focused on freshman Katie Wise, the Valley's top short sprinter in the 100m.


Rank Team (1st-place votes) Points   Rank Team (1st-place votes) Points
1. Indiana State (6) 48   1. Wichita State (8) 64
2. Wichita State (1) 42   2. Indiana State 54
3. Southern Illinois 36   3. Illinois State 49
4. UNI 25   4. Southern Illinois 41
5. Drake 21   5. Missouri State 30
6. Illinois State 17   6. UNI 23
7. Bradley 7   7. Drake 19
        8. Bradley 8

The Wichita State men notched the No. 2 spot in the pre-championship poll, securing 42 points as well as a first place vote.  The Shockers are led by Zach Budda, Tomas Cotter, Ryan Hocker and Austin Bahner who all hold top spots in the Valley in their respective events. The Shockers hold two of the top five spots in five different events on Valley best lists.

On the women's side, the Shockers are the unanimous favorite, garnering all eight first place votes and the maximum 64 total points. The Shockers are currently ranked 25th  in the nation according to the most recent USTFCCCA polls. Wichita State is led by the incredible Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton. The distance runner is currently ranked 3rd in the nation in both the 5000m and 10,000m, both of which rank amongst the very best times run this year in the world. Tanya Friesen and Mariah Garcia hold top spots in their events as well.
The Saluki men rank third in the pre-championship poll, receiving 36 points in total. Nikolai Gall leads the Valley in the 400m with a time of 47.82. J.C. Lambert will receive much attention in the hammer throw. The senior owns the top distance in the Valley by nearly five feet, and his throw of 67.09 meters ranks 6th in the nation.

Southern Illinois' women's team is picked right in the middle at fourth in the pre-championship poll. The Salukis received a total of 41 points and are certainly a threat at this weekend's MVC Championship. Kim Fortney has the No. 2 distance in the Valley for the hammer throw, while Kenya Culmer boasts a top 5 height cleared in the high jump.

Northern Iowa is picked in the fourth spot on the men's side with  25 points, entering the championship event with two MVC-best marks.  Senior Daniel Gooris boasts one of the best scores in the nation in the Decathlon, while Jordan Williams owns the top mark in the Discus Throw after his winning performance at the John Mitchell Alabama Relays.

The Panther women come into this weekend's championship ranked sixth in the pre-championship poll.  Paige Knodle will be an athlete to keep an eye on this weekend as she looks to maintain the best mark in the Valley for the Javelin throw.

Missouri State ranks fifth in the women's pre-championship poll, earning a total of 30 points. Robiann Broomfield, Kimsue Grant, and Shavonne Husbands own top marks in the Valley for the triple jump, long jump, and 200m respectively. The Bears also own the No. 2 time for the 4x100 relay.

Drake comes in at fifth on the men's side, earning 21 points in the pre-championship poll. The Bulldogs are led by Brogan Austin, who holds the top time in the Valley for the 5000m by nearly 14 seconds. He registered this time at the prestigious Drake relays several weeks ago, winning the event by three tenths of a second.

The Drake women rank 7th in the pre-championship poll, earning nineteen points. Whitney Westrum and Briana Isom Brummer own top five times in the Valley in the 400m and Heptathlon respectively.

Illinois State's men's team tallied 17 points and the sixth spot in the pre-championship poll.  The Redbirds are led by senior Tim Glover, one of the best javelin throwers in the nation. His distance is best in the Valley by over 37 feet, and ranks second in the nation. He will aim to win his third national title in the event and fourth consecutive Valley crown.

On the women's side, the Redbirds come in at No. 3 in the pre-championship poll. The Redbirds are led by senior Brittany Smith, one of the nation's top hammer throwers and shot putters. Her distances rank in the top ten for both events this season, and she enters this championship as one of the most dominant competitors in field events.

Bradley takes the final spot in themen's and women's pre-championship poll with seven and eight points respectively.  Chase Coffey holds a top five time in the 3000m Steeple. For the Braves women's team, Sarah McMahon is second in the 5000m and looks to be Bradley's top finisher this weekend.